The Soviet camera industry didn’t copy too many american designs. Most of the time they designed cameras based on German and Japanese concepts; They were not fools: German and Japanese stuff are as good as it gets when you talk about cameras.
The Moment is a strange beast in the Soviet camera world. It is to the Polaroid 95 what the Kiev 6C was to the Pentacon Six: a model very much inspired in the original, so much that it couldn’t be sold in the West because of flagrant patent infringement. It wasn’t an exact copy and there are a few different details, but the Soviet Pola has Land genes in it. The insides are pretty much the same, as the instant photography system was copied exactly, but there are many different things.
You know, many of us GAS-afflicted spawn have the fantasy that someday we will sell everything and keep just a system to do our work. Or two. Okay, there’s my Leica rangefinder and my second body plus all the lenses; then, you can’t tell a man to get rid of his two Nikon Fs with differents prisms and lenses from 20 to 300mm; and it would be cruel to take that cutey patooty Leica R6 from him, and of course there is the Viso II for Leica screw bodies with matching Leica IIIa and a ton of Telyts…Geez, I won’t live enough lives to actually use all this stuff but I swear to God that I will riddle with bullets the motherfucker that tries to take one camera from me. It simply isn’t rational. There are chaps who work in an office, act normal all week long but then, when the weekend comes they go watching soccer and go totally apeshit and call the ref things that would make a truck driver blush. Everybody’s got a bug; mine is cameras, and I don’t think it can be cured.
I normally visit antiques shops looking for cameras; you never know what you fill find there. There’s quite a few quality levels when we’re talking antique shops and that one was more an indoors junkyard than a shop; these are the kind of shops I normally like, but hell, all that stuff looked like it had been dug up from a dump.
The ‘camera section’ was a glass cupboard filled with trashed brownies, 8mm cameras, some rusty SLRs and three or four folding 6x9s. When I took a close look I could not believe what I saw: an Argos. The salesman was a royal pain in the ass: he had the theory that folders are worth at least fifty bucks cause people like them as paperweights. To be honest, it was my bad: if you are before a dishonest salesman and you take interest in something, he will double the price. Fifty bucks paperweights. Man, tell me where this kind of customers are, because it they’re paying this for a paperweight they would give a million for a Leica.
Here it is. Look at it, for this is the camera that definively made Leica… an underdog in the selling charts. Who’s to blame? Junior. Ludwig Leitz, Ernst Leitz’s son, was really full of himself In Junior’s eyes, ‘flex’ cameras were a trend that wouldn’t last: real men shot rangefinders. Now it’s not the fifties anymore, and we know what happened next. The Leicaflex shows the strong bias towards rangefinders in Wetzlar: they tried to design a SLR that was as little a common-lore-reflex as it could be.
In may ways, it reminds me of the first Contax I: a gorgeous camera with innovative features, just the wrong innovative features. But at least Zeiss made the wonderful Contax II immediately, so…
Besides, guys at Wetzlar failed to implement features that were common at the time, like TTL measuring or interchangeable prisms. If you are one of those who still say that this was made to prevent dust from entering the viewfinder, you are a fool with capital F. Had those people known what they were doing, they would have used interchangeable prisms, or at least a prism wouldn’t be fogged by its own natural glue over time.
This mirrorless thing has really gone way further than I predicted in the first place. We said it last week: a pythoness of the digital market Baron I is not. I really thought that the MILC developers would linger much more with unexciting small frame models, even smaller than APS-C which it is way too small to be taken seriously.
Size matters more than ladies would ever admit. Those who, with the purpose of making you buy a digital camera, take you people for idiots often say that small sensors have more depth of film than larger ones and thus it is more difficult to achieve a nice ‘3d effect’ (or ‘defocussing’ or whatever they call it) with a small sensor. This is utterly false. There really is no need to lie to people; I’ve personally seen a salesman in one of the biggest photo stores in my area that ‘digital has more DOF than analog’. That’s outrageous.
What larger sensors actually do is using longer lenses to achieve the same angles of view. Longer lenses lead to less DOF. Less DOF leads to more extreme defocussing. And more extreme defocussing leads to the Dark Side. Wait, no. it actually leads to the photographic Canaan: a land flowing with milk and honey. Some folks say that the very concept of bokeh was invented by Japanese salesmen in order to sell faster and more expensive lenses, but I have an idiotic fondness for extreme defocussing that only larger formats can fulfill. As any infomercial on mechanical penis enlargers would confirm, big is better.
And you know what, Fuji is releasing a camera that has a sensor for days, 1.7 times bigger than a FF; and Hasselblad recently released another digital medium format system with a sensor of similar size. I’m normally not too amused at digital gizmoes hitting the market, but these cameras have a feature that touches my little black heart: a ridiculously short flange distance. This enables medium format mirrorless cameras (MFMILC? MFEVIL? I like more MFEVIL cause it looks like it reads ‘motherfucking evil’ and I have a sense of humor like that of a 13 year old) to use lenses from any other medium format camera system and I would really love to attach an 80mm f2 Norita lens on one of them. Heck, you could even put a Leica M lens on them and it would be able to achieve infinity focus. Before you laugh at how idiot I am and telling me on the comments box that this would be pointless because it will vignette, take into account that you can crop them to full frame (which is a peculiar concept itself) in PS and you still would have zillions of pixels in your pic, so for the price of one of them you will be able to use any 35mm or medium format lens you could imagine.
I have to admit it: digital cameras are getting more interesting. Maybe there will be one day in which digital will beat film. But this won’t happen tomorrow.
I’ve been commenting it in both instagram and twitter these days, and maybe there’s not that much to it than what it is, but I keep perplexed at the fact that, according to data provided by them, the most sold camera at Amazon this Xmas was the Fuji Instax Mini, and at the moment of writing this post, still is. If this is true, this is mindblowing.
Before you guys go three hoorays for the analog revival and crack open your Dom Perignon bottles, please take into account that this is no hard data (because Amazon doesn’t provide these) and that, if it is true, there might be a number of factors influencing it besides a surge of interest on instant photography. This said, it is undeniable that them guys at Fujifilm have been doing their homework extra hard. They really trusted in a breed of photography that its own creators, Polaroid, thought as good as extinct and made a ton of cash out of it. Good for them and for us, analog afficionadoes.
As you kids well know, the Baron has repeatedly exposed his viewpoint on the so called ‘analog revival’. Long story short: this revival exists only in the minds of those ensnared by Lomography’s marketing and some other misled beings. Analog photography has been losing ground uninterruptedly for more than a decade now. Before you throw the bathwater out with the baby: no, it doesn’t mean that analog photography will end tomorrow or in a decade, it just means that there are fewer of us that enjoy it. Rejoice, for there are only true believers left here, and all this.
But there are also some victories on our side. I’m talking about two recent events. First, it looks like the new Ferrania, an enterprise founded on the ashes of the old Italian film company, has been producing and testing film for a few months now and everything is going steadily. This is a HUGE success for the very serious, very enthusiastic, guys in its lead. Please go on.
If I tell you I have a nice camera made in China you will say ‘so what’. Yes, now everything is made in the Unpopular Republic of China by workers paid peanuts while factories keep closing in the West. For the powers that be it’s win-win. For 99.9999% people in this wretched world, it’s a disaster of biblical proportion. Before 2000 the made in China label carried an aura of exoticism, as it was almost unknown here in the West. Back in the day, made in China was so freakin cool.
We can finally announce that we have gone online with our own store. Finally Camera Store Barcelona is its own man in the Internets. We will keep our presence in ebay, and I will try to mislead you to our ebay store as often as ever, but now we also have our own thing. Migrating our store has been a lot of effort, but the sight of so much leather & chrome really eased it all a lot.
Of course, I’m inviting you to check our new store out, here at our site. And I’m just inviting you, which is quite mild, because my lawyers told me that installing a plugin that went apeshit and spamming pop-ups would have undesired legal consequences. The consequences will never be the same, said a philosopher. Yes, we are proof that rehab from 4chan works in some cases.
On the serious side now, as you can see, we’ve gone nuts and are offering insane discounts, up to 30 to celebrate we’re in the ‘nets. From now to the 19th, If you want to go and steal a shiny, shiny chromed gizmo from us, now it’s your chance.
We haven’t seen any official announcement, which, on the other hand is quite normal for Chinese (AKA from the country without law) enterprises, but we can now surely say that the Shanghai GP3 120 film isn’t being made anymore. For a year and a half prices have been skyrocketing in the evilbay and other gray market sites to insane amounts, and finally, even the most obnoxious offers have ceased. Sold out. Sould out and not made anymore. The auction you see above is from an ebay post. They sold the last three rolls for 111 US dollars. This makes every roll 37 George Washingtons, which is in-fucking-sane. And even more if you take into account that this was notorious for being the cheapest 120 film around, both label and quality wise. And I loved it, GODDAMIT. This is a twilight moment for the Baron. Everything I love goes. Don’t get me to like you: the Cosmos will kill you just to piss me off.